North American sports stars march to protest racial injustice

A number of Milwaukee Bucks players marched and spoke at a rally in Los Angeles, including NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

In this picture taken on Saturday, June 6, 2020, Giannis Antetokounmpo joins some of his team-mates during a march protesting racial injustice, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The death of George Floyd at the hands of police last month in Minneapolis has sparked nationwide protests for police reform.   -  AP

U.S. and international athletes have joined the chorus of civil rights voices demanding racial equality in America with several leading protest marches in cities across the country. A number of Milwaukee Bucks players marched and spoke at a rally in the city, including NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who sported a shirt that read: “I can’t breathe.”

“We want change,” Antetokounmpo, of Greece, said in address to other protestors.

“We want justice. That’s why we’re out here. That’s what we’re going to do today. That’s why I’m going to march with you guys. I want my kid to grow up and not to be scared to walk down the street. I don’t want my kid to have hate in his heart.

“It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter the colour. We’re not black, white, yellow. It doesn’t matter. We’re all human beings.”

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Giannis’ brother, Thanasis and several other Bucks players also marched.

The others included Brook Lopez, Sterling Brown, Donte DiVincenzo, Frank Mason and Cam Reynolds.

They all wore shirts reading “I can’t breathe,” a reference to the words of George Floyd before he died in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis. Floyd, an African American, died after officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneeled on his neck for eight-plus minutes.

 

Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, while three other officers have been charged with abetting murder and manslaughter.

On Wednesday, NBA star Stephen Curry chanted the name “George Floyd” as he and some of his Golden State Warrior team-mates joined a throng of protesters at a peaceful march in California. As some protesters called for others to “Say his name”, Curry was among those shouting in response: “George Floyd!”

The march, which also included Warriors Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney and Damion Lee, took place in the same location as the NBA club’s championship rallies and parades.

On Saturday, NFL quarterback Dwayne Haskins, of the Washington Redskins, attended protests in Washington, D.C. Haskins met with Mayor Muriel Bowser before marching with demonstrators across the city.

NHL star Zdeno Chara marched through the streets of Boston to show his support for the black community. “For the last 13 days I have been sick about George Floyd’s murder,” said Boston Bruins captain Chara, who is from Slovakia.

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